Tiny Travels

I recently read a list of ways to make your life really awesome. It was probably on Thought Catalog or something; those writers tend to have a lot of lists about what makes a good life or a bad life.

Anyway, one of the items was actually worthwhile: talk to strangers. Traveling on a long flight? Talk to the person sitting next to you. Get their story. Where are they going? Where have they been?

I kept that in mind when I rode an Amtrak train that felt like it took an eternity to get through the cornfields of central Illinois a few weeks ago.

As I double-checked where the train was going with the women in line to board in front of me, their eyes widened when I asked if the train was southbound, toward Carbondale.

“I don’t know about Carbondale,” one of them laughed. “We’re headed to New Orleans.”

I stuffed the normal shy girl in my back pocket and asked how long of a ride they had ahead of them. Nineteen hours.

“We came up for a little weekend adventure. It’ll never happen again.”

The women were in their mid-40s, I would guess. They wore oversized T-shirts with gaudy Mardi Gras logos on them. I wanted to talk to them so much more, but they seemed like future versions of me: two quiet women who just want to get out of their hometown for a weekend to do something different, but nothing too extravagant. Sight-seeing, doing all the free things the city can offer.

That’s the kind of life I want to live. Grab a friend, pick a city, and go. See things I’ve never seen, talk to people I’d never normally talk to.

2 comments on “Tiny Travels

  1. The trip I and an ex of mine took to Yellowstone NP (by car) several years ago is one I will never forget and one that will always stand out in my mind. From the windfarms of Iowa to the GPS instructing me to drive 500 miles on one stretch of road to the grueling climb my poor car had to make up the non-circumnavigable Big Horn Mountains, the drive there was a taxing endeavor that was more than rewarded by YNP.

    As soon as we descended into the valleys that hugged the Rocky Mountains and into YNP itself, we were in a state of being we have both hardly ever been exposed to before. Never before had we craned our necks skyward to view the horizon above the mountains. Never before had we wound around such seemingly aimless roads, curled and kinked like a kindergartner’s scribbles. And never before had we set our eyes upon a nightscape so brilliantly splattered with stars, unhindered by a city’s glaring grin, that we could see the path before us unassisted.

    Though this is by no means a small trip, and never should YNP be relegated to such stature, it is one that makes me aspire to many more and greater trips to come. I would say travelling this and other nations’ national parks are a major goal of mine, for I enjoy nature and appreciating the fact that nature has and always will be a part of me and my life.

    tl;dr: YNP, long trip, tall mountains, scribbbly roads, crystal-clear skies, many more to come.


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